'm at a regional FIRE conference in Jacksonville this week, Dan is out of town, and Frank is being father in the midst of a tonsillectomy, so things are hectic around here, but the e-mail continues to roll in.
Here's an excerpt from one I answered between conference sessions this morning. I actually typed it with my thumbs on my cell phone, so if it sounds terse or rushed, that's why. A person wrote:
My thumbs replied:
People invariably struggle with the question of how an overture of reconciliation and mercy from God toward the reprobate can be sincere if He didn't elect them to salvation in the first place. Many Calvinists, swayed by Arthur Pink's assertions in the unabridged edition of The Sovereignty of God, falsely imagine that real Calvinism must assert that God's hatred for the reprobate is an absolute loathing of their very beings, unmitigated by any compassion, tenderness, or benevolence that could reasonably be called love. They would flatly deny that God in any sense loves those who are perishing in their sins, and they refuse to preach the gospel as a plea or as an offer of mercy. Instead, they insist the gospel is a bare demand for immediate repentanceor in the worst cases, they insist that the gospel has no relevance whatsoever to the reprobate.
It's common nowadays to hear Calvinists explain John 3:16 by saying "world" means "the elect" in that context, in order to sidestep this issue of whether God has any measure of authentic love toward the reprobate.
That is not historic mainstream Calvinism, and it certainly isn't the spirit of Calvin himself, who wrote concerning John 3:16: "He has used a general term ["whosoever"], both to invite indiscriminately all to share in life and to cut off every excuse from unbelievers. Such also is the significance of the term 'world' which he had used before. For although there is nothing in the world deserving of God's favour, He nevertheless shows He is favorable to the whole world when he calls all without exception to the faith of Christ, which is indeed an entry into life."
See also B. B. Warfield, The Saviour of the World.